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"In-town" Midsummer night festivities for Rigans and tourists begin at 5 p.m.

RIGA, June 23 - A large-scale Midsummer "Liigo!" night extravaganza in downtown Riga featuring top pop music stars, folklore/folkdance groups, Latvian theater actors, and plenty of traditional food and beer, will surely keep everyone wide awake until dawn, as is the custom.

Meant as a holiday gift from the city council for Rigans and tourists who won't be merrymaking somewhere in the countryside (as is custom), this year's headliner again will be everybody's favorite entertainer, "Maestro" Raimonds Pauls.

As Mayor Nils Usakovs told reporters today, he is "particularly pleased" to have been able to convince Pauls, who will "help Riga residents and visitors get in the holiday mood." For the main stage, Pauls has lined up two pop divas, who appear rarely in Latvia - Laima Vaikule and Marija Naumova. Pauls himself told reporters that he in turn is "particularly pleased" to have been able to engage Vaikule and Naumova.

"Our goal is to create a joyful atmosphere. We had a good response last year. There's sure to be a big crowd, and you need to know how to work it, playing what they want to hear. I feel that after all these years, I have some experience in this regard," said Pauls.

The event will get under way at 5 p.m. on the riverside drive (18.novembra krastmala) between Vansu and Akmens bridges. All along the way there will be separate "homesteads" with specific live entertainment and recreational activities for young and old, food stations, picnic tables, and bonfires, large and small. 
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